Prosecutors should not seek love but respect, Mokgoro Inquiry told

Suspended deputy national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba defending her fitness for office and qualification at Mokgoro commission of Inquiry.
Suspended deputy national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba defending her fitness for office and qualification at Mokgoro commission of Inquiry.
Image: Gallo Images

Prosecutors should do their work with independence and not to please anyone in the public.

This was a submission made by the secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), Lawson Naidoo, at the Mokgoro Inquiry in Centurion on Wednesday.

The inquiry, headed by retired judge Yvonne Mokgoro, has been tasked with establishing whether suspended  deputy national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Nomgcobo Jiba and special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi are fit for office.

Naidoo told the inquiry that senior officials of the NPA, such as the deputy NDPP should have integrity and be able to do their work with independence.

“Prosecutors should not seek to be loved by the public but respected,” Naidoo said.

Casac has been involved in many court cases involving the NPA, including one that led to the axing of former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana. Naidoo also worked at the Jinwala Inquiry that looked at the fitness to hold office of former NPA head Vusi Pikoli in 2007 and 2008.

Naidoo told the inquiry that the deputy NDPP and the special director of public prosecutions are not appointed on a fixed 10-year contract like the NDPP but remain in office until the age of 65.

However, Naidoo added, the process for their removal from office mirrored that of the NDPP as provided for in Section 12 (6) of the NPA Act, which required that an inquiry be conducted.

“The test for fitness at a time of appointment should constitute the examination of personal attributes of the candidate at that time, whereas the test for the incumbent to remain a fit and proper person in considering their removal from office requires an examination of the impact of their conduct on the institution of the NPA as a whole, including public perception of it,” Naidoo said.

“A more stringent test should be applied in contemplating the removal from office of either the deputy national director of public prosecutions and other senior officials.”

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